5 Ways to Improve your inking skills this Inktober

The first week of Inktober has passed ? and I have managed to successfully do 7 illustrations with inking involved.  I draw often anyway , but  doing more line work  with accuracy has always been tough because my art style is naturally sketchy.

Ink is permanent  and once it’s down you can’t go back, so there is a certain level on confidence you need to have with your mark making when putting pen to paper which is why the whole challenge of Inktober was created in the first place.

I am not an inking expert so this blog post is as much as a reminder for me as it is to help others if possible. If you are a bit like me and have issues with inking here are some of the things that have helped me improve so far.

Draw on a flat surface

It may sound obvious but draw on a table! We have all done it… drawn on our laps in the comfort of our favourite chair.  Being cozy is a great way to feel at home drawing but if you are trying to put down  lines with something that cannot be erased it’s not the best idea to work on an uneven surface. Give  yourself some room… room to turn the paper around..round to move your arms so you can move the pen and make your lines and a flat surface so you can concentrate and have a steady hand.  You will see the difference on making your lines more steady.

Have a good pre\ sketch

It all depends on your style of course…. but having a good pencil sketch to start off with is going to help you immensely.  Like I say my normal style is very sketchy so I normally tend to add things into my artwork as I go a long….but as I knew I was going to be doing a lot of pen work this Inktober and I knew I wasn’t very good at it and I had to put in some extra work. I knew my sketches/ideas had to be on point first. Throughout the week, where my ideas and sketches hasn’t  been as thought out as some  I can see the final pen work was to be less desired.  Simply because  I wasn’t 100% certain what I wanted the final lines to be. Make the time to really sketch in pencil first. Once you get more confident with inking  and your style of drawing you can go back to looser pencil work and then ink with more confidence.


Give yourself time

I draw a-lot and I draw fast…. so what Inktober is teaching me also is to slow down!  Give yourself enough time to do your drawing. I know the task is to draw daily but don’t forget the main point of the task is to also improve. So give yourself an extra half hour to plan your sketches or spend time carefully inking. I  can’t tell you how many pieces I have ruined by just rushing my line work because I want to get it out. Give yourself that extra time so you can produce those steady lines.

Have your tools out and ready

Get your tools out and in front of you,  once you are in a flow, you don’t want to have to keep getting up to find tools.  How many times have you picked up a pen and it’s not the right size and you think ‘hmmm I will just use this one it will be alright’ and then you totally make a mistake because it’s waaay too thick. Get everything you think you want to use out first  and before putting pen to paper just do a test on some scrap paper so you have an idea of the mark you are going to potentially make.


Inktober is a challenge and for most of us we are doing something out of the norm. So take some chances and try new things.  Experiment with  markings and patten making and using ink to make things more dramatic. Some of my fav pieces this week have come about from experimenting and making markings I don’t make normally make in my work. I know when you think of inking we think of concentrating and making steady lines, but don’t be afraid o flick the pen , make scribbles to add texture… you name it.  You can have fun with ink!

Lastly I just want to say don’t get caught up in looking at others work and thinking you will never be as good. This is your journey and it takes time and practice to develop new skills, so give yourself time to learn.  You may think you are practising and practising but it still doesn’t look like others, remember art is unique and  no-one draws exactly like another. So embrace your style and make ink work for you.

Talk soon




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